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The Indie Chicks were invited to join Lee Zamloch’s Virtual Book Tour by reviewing a PDF version of her new book.

Book Title:  Catch the Sun
Author: Lee Zamloch
Format Reviewed: eBook (PDF)
Published On: July 23, 2012
Length: 316 pages
Price: $2.99 on Amazon.com
Genre: Women’s Fiction

Book description, from the Author’s media kit:

Marilyn Monroe begins appearing on Amanda Grace’s patio dancing, laughing at the moon and gazing at Amanda through the glass doors. Is it possible that Marilyn, against all reason, has somehow transported herself through time and space to contemporary Los Angeles? And why does she haunt Amanda, a model whose beauty is undeniable, but whose talent is questionable?

The visitations begin when Amanda’s mother, Edith, commits suicide, an event that shakes Amanda to her foundation. For, while she has been a successful model, she has always measured herself against her mother, a well-known artist who has overcome severe obstacles. But unlike Edith and her accomplished sister, Joanne, Amanda Grace has not distinguished herself intellectually or artistically, nor even managed to marry and have children. In her eyes, she has failed to live up to her mother’s expectations. Now, with Edith’s death, she has forever lost her chance to prove herself. In her grief, she forgets to eat, sleep, or carry on with life’s simplest tasks. The final blow comes when Amanda accidentally learns she was adopted. With the loss of her family as a touchstone, her foundation crumbles, and her fragile sense of self dissolves completely.

CATCH THE SUN is a story about how an obsession with a celebrity can impact the life of an ordinary woman. It explores our endless fascination with Marilyn Monroe’s fragility, beauty and dazzling rise and fall.

My Review:

Catch the Sun is the story of Amanda Grace – a gorgeous woman who once experienced a brief taste of fame as a fashion model, but who has since fallen from the limelight.  Faced with the suicide of her terminally ill mother, being dumped by her agent, and multiple failed attempts at an acting career – she slips into a self-destructive depression and begins seeing visions of Marilyn Monroe outside her windows.  She decides to learn everything she can about Marilyn Monroe and to do everything she can to look like Marilyn Monroe, so that she can make her comeback playing Marilyn Monroe in a movie about the legendary star.

Catch the Sun moves smoothly between the past – providing us with fascinating (though, of course, fictitious) glimpses of Marilyn’s life and psyche, and the present – focusing on Amanda’s growing obsession and depression.  Much of the book is written in the present tense which, up until now, has been a major turn-off for me – but this is such a well written and polished novel that I am almost a convert.

Although this book deals with dark topics such as suicide, depression, substance abuse, and abandonment – it is a well crafted story.  The really artful thing about the book is the way the author, Lee Zamloch, weaves a tapestry of intertwining, parallel lives.  For example these include: Amanda’s own inability to separate her incredible good looks from her personal identity and Marilyn’s frustrations that no one else can separate these two in her; and Amanda’s feeling of loneliness and abandonment by her mother’s death and her neighbor’s foster-daughter, Cherry’s, sorrow at the loss of her own mother.

Despite the book’s somber topics and events, I found the story kept my interest throughout.  However, I did find that some intriguing plotlines were not pursued and that the ending was somewhat inconclusive.  Catch the Sun’s strength definitely lies in the unique and interesting character developments for all of the women in this book.